Like a flock of locusts, eight seniors descended on the Trail Seventh Day Adventists Church for a good old-fashioned work bee.
Using the experience and knowledge from the Seniors in Action for God with Excellence (SAGE) — a volunteer group that helps construct and renovate churches across North America — the walls and roof of the church on Columbia Avenue went up in a hurry.
Just over one week in fact. It was long days and hard work for the veteran crew, but it was worth it, said Walla Walla, Wash. resident Larry Goodhew, the crew’s foreman.
“It’s been fun. You wouldn’t work that hard for money,” he said, perhaps hinting at the higher calling involved in the nature of the work.
Eight people were on site for main project last week — erecting walls, roof trusses, sheathing — but Goodhew stayed on this week to finish the framing because there was no one local in the church that could complete it.
The $80,000 project will add a foyer, wheel chair ramp, and an extra bathroom to the front of the aging church for the 30 parishioners.
The front steps had been crumbling for a few years, said church member Frank Edey, making it hard to get to church on time some days.
“Have you ever seen our front steps? They were in pretty rough shape. We were always patching and patching,” he said.
“Some days, you weren’t sure you’d get up the stairs in one piece.”
With the project in mind, the church had been lining a building fund for over four years with an eye towards engaging in the development.
The SAGE group that worked on the Trail project was based out of Walla Walla, although there is a Canadian contingent, unavailable at the time for the Trail project.
Their volunteer contributions are expected to save the tiny church thousands of dollars on construction costs. For the remaining work, local roofers, drywallers and other trades will be brought in to complete the task.
SAGE is a non-profit organization that coordinates construction of urgently needed buildings with volunteers who desire a short-term mission experience.